Turkey kills 19 PKK militants, policeman dies in southeast
AA photoThe Turkish military has killed 19 militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in southeastern Turkey amid the death of a police officer in the latest PKK offensive in the southeastern province of Siirt.
Twelve PKK militants reportedly died in fighting in Cizre, a district in the southeastern province of Şırnak, in military operations targeting the organization on Jan. 14, the Turkish General Staff (TSK) said.
Some 15 improvised explosive devices were deactivated and three barricades were removed during the operation. The military also seized three Kalashnikov rifles, two pistols, two hand grenades, 16 Molotov cocktails and several other weapons and ammunition in the operation.
Also in the Silopi district of Şırnak, five PKK militants were killed during military operations in the district on Jan. 14, the TSK said Jan. 15.
Eight hand grenades were deactivated in the operation.
Two other militants from the outlawed organization were killed in Sur, a district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, on Jan. 14 during military operations targeting the group.
The TSK said in the statement also that two PKK militants were killed in Sur, a district in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, on Jan. 14 during military operations targeting the outlawed organization. Some 11 barricades were removed and a hand grenade was deactivated in the operation.
The military operations in southeastern towns have been followed by a fresh PKK offensive in the country’s southeast that killed a police officer.
The state-run Anadolu Agency reported that police officer Yalçın Yamaner, 39, was killed on Jan. 15 in Siirt during a counterterrorism operation against PKK militants.
According to security sources, police squads extended their operation to a home in Siirt’s Ulus neighborhood.
During clashes, a police officer was wounded and later succumbed to his injuries at Siirt Public Hospital. Three other policemen injured during the exchange of fire were reported to still be receiving treatment.
The offensive came amid burial ceremonies for six people who were killed in Diyarbakır’s Çınar district on Jan. 13 when a car bomb was detonated by PKK militants near a police station.
Police officer Mehmet Şenol Çiftçi, 29, and his daughter Mevlüde İrem Çiftçi, 4, who were killed in the Jan. 13 attack in Çınar, were buried in Antakya, a district in the southern province of Hatay, on Jan. 15.
Esra Başaran, 31, the wife of a police officer in Çınar who was killed in the PKK attack in the southeastern town on Jan. 13, was buried in the eastern province of Malatya on Jan. 13.
Lokman Açıkgöz, a civilian who was killed in the Jan. 13 attack in Çınar along with his son Sadık Efe, 5, and Ecrin, 1, were buried in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Jan. 14.
Earlier media reports said 39 people, including women and children, were also wounded in the attack. The relatives of two police officers who were staying in the dormitory, in addition to three civilians who were trapped in the wreckage of a nearby house lost their lives, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said in a statement.
Earlier media reports said at the time that PKK militants staged an attack against the police headquarters and the adjacent police dorms by detonating a car laden with explosives. The outlawed group simultaneously started a gun fight with long-barreled weapons and rocket launchers, leading to clashes as police returned fire. Clashes continued for some 40 minutes. While the police headquarters and dorms suffered from substantial damage, a nearby two-story house collapsed with the power of the explosion.
The U.S. condemned the Jan. 13 attack as the attack drew reactions both from Turkey and abroad.
The United States “strongly” condemned the bomb attack in Diyarbakır which killed six and wounded dozens.
“In addition to the attacks in Indonesia, I want to note that we also strongly condemn yesterday’s terrorist bombings in Diyarbakır in Turkey and extend our condolences again to all those who were affected, killed, and wounded, as well as their family and friends,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby said at a daily press meeting on Jan. 15.
Kirby also added that the U.S. would continue to act in solidarity with the Turkish people in the country’s fight against terrorist threats.
“Turkey is a friend and a NATO ally, and we will continue to stand with the Turkish people as they continue to deal with very real terrorist threats on their soil,” he said.